How I Choose Studies for Small Group Connecting Events

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chooseI get a lot of questions. And a very frequent question is, "What are the best studies to use for small group connections?"

Let's just say I have my favorites. And I've listed them from time to time. But today I want to tell you how I choose studies for small group connecting events (i.e., small group connections, base groups, etc.).

How I Choose Studies

It's actually not very complicated. I choose studies that I believe will appeal to the people I'm trying to connect.

I choose studies that I believe will appeal to the people I'm trying to connect.

There are a couple parts to that statement:

  • First, I know who I'm trying to connect. I'm not trying to connect everyone. There is a very specific kind of person that I'm trying to connect. If you want to choose the right studies you have to know who you hope to connect.
  • Second, I have an informed opinion about what will appeal to them. I know they will not be interested in just any topic. There is a set of things that will peak their interest. And...there are certain topics that will cause them to dismiss the whole idea. If you want to choose the right studies you will have to know what will appeal to the people you hope to connect.

4 key characteristics of studies that will connect unconnected people

Studies that will connect unconnected people are:

  • On topics that matter to most unconnected people (i.e., community, relationships, purpose, etc.). While there are some unconnected people who care about ancient prophecies, the end times, and who were the Nephilim...most do not.
  • Not too long in terms of commitment. 6 weeks seems to be the right length. Generally, unconnected people tend to be less frequent attenders at your weekend services. Committing to 6 weeks is a major step in commitment. Longer terms of commitment decrease the number of unconnected people who will say yes.
  • Show up and discuss studies. Homework or daily personal devotionals are something of a deterrent if they are required in order to fully participate in the group discussion.
  • DVD-driven with engaging teaching segments. The personality of the teacher does matter as does the length of the DVD segment. If the speaker has trouble holding your attention, you can bet unconnected people will struggle to stay engaged as well.

What do you think?  Have a question?  Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.

Image by Tony Webster


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  1. Glen on September 9, 2015 at 7:40 am

    This is really helpful, and to segment and know your audience is key.
    I’m wondering if folk in the UK have used connection events and how well they’ve found it working? Since people in general in the UK are way more post-Christian than our US friends, they are somewhat skeptical when being invited to church events that go beyond social.

  2. markchowell on September 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Great question, Glen. To be clear, most attendees at a small group connection would be unconnected church goers. How might you connect friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members in the UK? I believe Alpha has already provided an example of how it might happen. And here in the US it is actually similar. If you want to include a neighbor or friend in a study that meets in your home, the study will have to meet the conditions I list above.